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Bryan Winchell...wait, stop. You know, I always had issues with people who talk about themselves in the third person, so I am goin going to be honest and admit it, Bryan Winchell is the body/being who is writing these words, so he...I...is...am...going to use the first person. Fair enough?
I am a father, an English teacher and a writer, as well as fun-loving, wacky, all-around good chap. I currently live in Takasaki, Japan, but I hail from the US West Coast, growing up in the lovely state of Washington (Tacoma, to be precise), and going to college in Southern California in the 1990s. I have been writing since I first picked up a pen at the age of 3 (okay, I made that last part up. As long as I can remember, all right?). I went to college at the University of Southern California to chase my dream of being either a sports or political journalist, but I ended up chasing ghosts of a different sort. I briefly worked at an alt-weekly in Tacoma in late 1999 and 2000, but gave up journalism that fall and have focused my writing on fiction, with dabbles in oddball poetry to keep the juices flowing. One spring day when I was working for the Los Angeles Daily News and burnt out on trying to get on the career path, I told the Universe I'd rather make Time my goal than Money, and, well, considering my bank account (or lack thereof), I've done all right for myself! (In all seriousness, I have found a lifestyle that provides me with A LOT more free time than most people and I do love time...only wish I had more, more, more...ha ha)
The novel, "The Teacher and the Tree Man," was started in the spring of 2000 in an old-growth forest in Pt. Defiance Park (one of the largest municipal parks in the US! Look it up!) and worked on (and off) for the next 15 years. It truly was a labor of love, as I wrote it with two intentions: 1. Enjoy it. 2. Finish it. About #1, I wanted to write something about things I cared about, but do it in a way that I felt was both entertaining and hopefully enlightening. I look at the world through the lens of BOTH/AND and see the possibilities in things, in spite of our cynical time.
Yet "The Teacher and the Tree Man" is written in a very dark period of US and world history, the fall of 2001 (starts just before 9/11) through spring of 2003 with the start of the Iraq War. As such, this book is me wrestling with cynicism/optimism. Ultimately, I think we need to stay optimistic in spite of the things we see happening in the world "out there." One way to do this, as the book suggests, is to get out into Nature where you can tune into Nature, as well as your own inner Nature. It is my intuition that Nature is, in a sense, speaking to us, when we do this and that is how the idea for this book was born. If more of us can do this, I do believe we can at least hold back the march of cynical progress, or perhaps liven up that progress with some sprinkles of hope and optimism.
So, yes, in a way this is a “message” book, but I fear calling it that for I think it is, above all else, an entertaining tale, with some fun, quirky characters and a unique plot. I believe the best way to go deep into things is to keep a light heart about it, so hope that when you finish this book, you’ll not only have learned something, but you’ll have enjoyed the ride.